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 Martha <I>Dandridge</I> Washington

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Martha Dandridge Washington

  • Birth 13 Jun 1731 New Kent, New Kent County, Virginia, USA
  • Death 22 May 1802 Mount Vernon, Fairfax County, Virginia, USA
  • Burial Mount Vernon, Fairfax County, Virginia, USA
  • Memorial ID 2382

First of America's First Ladies. Martha Washington was born on a plantation near Williamsburg, Virginia. Typical for a girl in that day and age, her education was negligible except in domestic and social skills. She was a wealthy widow and mother of two when she married Colonel George Washington who had fought in the Indian wars and was active in Virginia politics. Martha followed George from camp to camp during the Revolutionary war weathering harsh winters and danger. She spearheaded relief efforts for soldiers, giving them soup, medicine and clothes. When her husband assumed his new duties as President of the United States, she assumed the task of hostess at the President's Houses in the temporary capitals of New York and Philadelphia entertaining in a formal style striving for acceptance as an equal to the established governments of Europe. After two terms, George said farewell to public life and returned to Mount Vernon. After the death of her husband, Martha sealed their Mt Vernon bedroom, his death chamber, as well as his study, never to enter again. She moved to a small attic room where she could look on her husband's grave. Martha assured a final privacy by burning all the intimate letters written during their courtship and time spent apart during her husbands many absences while serving a new immerging nation. After becoming gravely ill and lingering for seventeen days, she seemed aware of her fate and requested the last sacraments from her minister. Dressed in a special white gown for the occasion, she was able to address her assembled grandchildren and relatives. Exhausted, she laid back and fell asleep, never to awaken. Her funeral took place three days later at Mount Vernon. Her former daughter-in-law, Eleanor Stuart, acted as hostess at the funeral. Her service was modest attended only by family members, friends, and neighbors. She was interred beside her husband George. The crypt intended as George and Martha Washington's tomb two floors below the Rotunda of the Capitol Building in Washington remains unused to this day. It can be viewed but merely houses the Lincoln catafalque, the structure on which Lincoln's coffin rested at the Rotunda as well as many other famous Americans upon their deaths.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2382
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Martha Dandridge Washington (13 Jun 1731–22 May 1802), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2382, citing Mount Vernon Estate, Mount Vernon, Fairfax County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .